Report: Spurs to sign Derrick Byars

Derrick ByarsThe San Antonio Spurs 15th roster spot has been left open for quite some time, but they’ll finally fill it with D-League swingman Derrick Byars, according to Ridiculous Upside‘s Scott Schroeder.

Byars, who was drafted out of Vanderbilt with the 42nd selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, spent this past season with the NBA D-League’s Bakersfield Jam, where he averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Byars has played a total of 15 preseason games since being selected with the 42nd pick in the 2007 NBA Draft with the Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, but Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns will be an opportunity for his first regular season action.

Solid signing of a solid person by a solid franchise. I like it.

The 6-7 Byars can play and defend the shooting guard and small forward positions, and seems to be comfortable shooting inside and outside. While he’s rebounding numbers don’t jump off the page, Byars had some big rebounding games this season.

In early March against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Byars finished with 26 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot. While he can be off and on with his outside shot, he shot at a 50 percent clip beyond the arch in the playoffs for the Jam. In a 33-point game against the RGV Vipers, Byars knocked down six of his eight three-point attempts.

Going back to his days at Vanderbilt, Byars has spent some time at point guard and has good court vision, so he is capable of taking over in the half court offense and dish anywhere from three to five assists.

So what does this mean for the Spurs?

For a team that boasts wing players like Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Boris Diaw and James Anderson, it seems a little redundant to bring in a 6-7 tweener.

The Spurs’ biggest weakness remains in the front court. While Diaw could spend time guarding bigs, he gives the Spurs another undersized player that will be asked to defend much bigger players. I would think bringing back Eric Dawson or Malcolm Thomas. While both players are 6-9, they play much bigger than their size. Dawson was named the D-League’s Performer of the Year after a season where he averaged 17.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

Thomas, a college teammate of Leonard, also spent some time with the Spurs this season. Just look to last night’s D-League Finals win by Thomas’ Los Angeles Defenders over the Toros as reason why he should be in the conversation. Thomas ended the game with 19 points, 25 rebounds and one blocked shot and is averaging 18 points, 12.2 rebounds and one block per game in the playoffs.

While there’s a chance nether player would even dress for the playoffs, i can’t find too much wrong with having another big body on the roster.

What makes the most sense for me is that the Spurs want to see what Byars is capable of. he hasn’t made it past preseason for an NBA team the past few years bit is always mentioned among the D-League’s top players and possible sleepers. The Spurs could be going the Da’Sean Butler route with Byars, and this move, along with bringing back Cory Joseph could give the Spurs two warm bodies to throw minutes at while they sit starters tonight against the Suns and tomorrow against the Warriors.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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